Monday, October 1, 2012

Mike Love gets served

Mike Love has explained that he and Bruce Johnston will continue to tour as the Beach Boys, without Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks, so as “not to get overexposed.” He has drawn an unflattering comparison to the Eagles, who “found out the hard way when they went out for a second year and wound up selling tickets for $5.” Love just got served:

“Since 1994 when the Eagles reunited, they have performed more than 600 shows worldwide,” the letter continued. “Neither the band nor its reps are aware of any promoter accusing them of being ‘overexposed.’ Regarding Mr. Love’s statement about Eagles tickets being sold for $5, according to our records that did happen on June 21, 1975, when the band performed at Wembley Stadium with the Beach Boys.”
I am happy to have missed the Beach Boys’ (so-called) reunion, a gathering of five musicians who had never before played as a group. Given the Boys’ history, an ugly end may have been fated.

The Financial Times has a review of the next-to-last show, which featured Love making fun of Darian Sahanaja’s name. Stay classy, Mike Love.

*

1:02 p.m.: In the comments, Andrew Hickey suggests that Love wasn’t making fun of DS’s name. Having listened, I agree with him. I think though that my final sentence still applies.

8:19 p.m.: Andrew Hickey has written a detailed review of the tour’s last show.

[Careful “not to get overexposed”? Every time I step into my friendly neighborhood multinational retailer, the Beach Boys are playing.]

comments: 12

Andrew Hickey said...

The review there is rather inaccurate. Love never 'made fun of' Sahanaja's name -- he just pronounced it exuberantly, "SA-HA-NA-JA!", in the same way Jeff Foskett does.

The entire first paragraph is a flat-out lie, too. Love is not the legal owner of the Beach Boys name and hasn't fired anyone. The legal owner of the name is Brother Records Incorporated, which is co-owned by Love, Wilson, Jardine and the estate of Carl Wilson, and the name is licensed out by majority vote of BRI. There are two licensees who can use the name -- Love, and 50 Big Ones Incorporated, a company owned in a three-way split by Wilson, Love and Joe Thomas, which is the organisation that put on the 'reunion' shows.

The reunion was organised as a strictly time-limited affair, and Love's continuing tour dates as 'the Beach Boys' were booked before the tour started and were publicly announced in June. The reason for the current fiasco is that Love put out a press statement last week explaining that they weren't reunion shows, in case anyone buying tickets was confused.

I'm no great fan of Mike Love -- very far from it -- but the 'ugly end' to the reunion tour is entirely media spin. I was backstage after the last show as a guest of one of Brian's band and spoke with many of the band members (though only one of the principals -- Bruce -- and that briefly), and they all saw it as an entirely positive experience, and I've never seen Brian happier than he was on stage on the last night of the tour.

Michael Leddy said...

Andrew, I trust you about Mike Love and Darian Sahanaja. I think though that my final sentence about Mike Love still stands.

Notice that theLA Times headline reads: “Brian Wilson fired? No, but Beach Boys will tour without him.” I know that the tour was a limited edition, so to speak. But given Brian Wilson’s comments, and the petition on Al Jardine’s Facebook page, and the insult to the Eagles, I can’t see as anything but an ugly, unfortunate end.

Michael Leddy said...

I forgot to add: I’ve heard JF announce DS’s way exactly so, and I’m looking forward to your take on the performance.

Andrew Hickey said...

Oh, it is an ugly end, and I definitely don't consider Love to be classy, but it seems to me more like some bad timing and some public maneuvering about what should really be private discussions, rather than a deliberate attempt to spoil what had, up until the last couple of days, been the closest the Beach Boys have been to dignified in my lifetime.

Michael Leddy said...

Oops — DS’s name exactly so. Stupid keyboard! I’ve added a link to your review to my post. From the little I’ve heard so far, it does sound like an excellent performance.

CountingTheWays said...

Dr. Love has a long and storied history of making sniping and backhanded comments. While I'm sure those who care to try can make a defense for his pronunciation of Darian's name, I would not be at all surprised if Mike had ill intentions. Neither should anyone.

Is it really that big of a leap of judgement to, at this point, assume that Love has...perhaps a bit of a problem controlling his anger? Certainly, an objective or critical thinker might be tempted to make a few assumptions given his *well documented* history. Or rather are we to believe his publicists? How is it that supposed insiders know what is "really going on" but news outlets like the LA Times and CNN are in the dark? Is it really true that these folks are talking to some lucky bloggers but, you know, not sharing their insights with the big media?

I truly doubt that is the case. Which then brings up the question, why defend Mike's actions? If that is too direct, then let me restate...why attempt to both apologize for Mike Love yet at the same time infer..."but yeah, I'm not a big Mike Love fan." Is it altruism? No, that makes no sense. Is it a total distrust for conventional media? Mmmm..don't think so.

I just really want to understand it..so please help me out here, Mr. Hickey. I truly DO want to understand it.

Excellent blog, Mr. Leddy. And great post.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, CountingTheWays. Here’s Love pronouncing “Sahanaja.” (And again at the end of the song.) It’s the same theatrical pronunciation I’ve heard from Jeff Foskett. One problem with being Mike Love might be that even if you intend no malice, your reputation precedes you.

Andrew Hickey said...

CountingTheWays -- it's very simple.

"How is it that supposed insiders know what is "really going on" but news outlets like the LA Times and CNN are in the dark? Is it really true that these folks are talking to some lucky bloggers but, you know, not sharing their insights with the big media?"

The media hasn't asked them. All those news outlets are recycling the same story, which comes from the Huffington Post badly rewriting an article that Rolling Stone had written based on taking a single press release out of context. It's the kind of thing that happens a lot -- if you read Nick Davies' Flat Earth News you'll see it's almost standard practice at this point. Certainly as a member of the Liberal Democrats I've regularly seen events I was at and discussions I've taken part in misinterpreted so thoroughly by even supposedly trustworthy media outlets like the Guardian or Independent that I put very little trust in them.

I have no interest in 'apologising for' Love. I *am*, however, interested in the truth. If someone said "Adolf Hitler kicked puppies" and I knew Hitler never kicked a puppy, I would say so. Not out of any desire to defend Hitler, and not because Hitler didn't do infinitely worse things, but because it's simply not true.

I'm not a religious person, but I do take the commandment "thou shalt not bear false witness" very, *VERY* seriously, and given that the stories that have been going round recently are simply *lies* I feel obligated to tell the truth.

CountingTheWays said...

Just kinda ran off at the "typowriter" with no real conceit in mind. If nothing else, I will lead him on a merry chase and maybe waste a little of his time.

First of all, thank you for allowing me to participate in this discussion. Furthermore, Mr. Hickey, thank you for taking the time to respond. I certainly don't question your sincerity or commitment to the truth, and while I pointed my line of thinking your direction, I was also writing more generally.

I appreciate the tips on media regurgitation and while I'm not quite able to keep up with all the current events or latest ideas I do have my own window of perspective. A local FoxNews affiliate ran a sensationalized and falsified story on one of my projects, which was then picked up within 12 hours by every single Fox affiliate - locally and nationally. As amazing as that was, it was equally amazing how quickly every story disappeared off the Internet once they were corrected by an attorney. So, there does exist some manner of checks and balances, such as they are, in big media.

I would also call myself a liberal and a democrat but I'm not entirely sure that translates directly to the politics across the pond. I understand Liberal Democrat is a party separate from the traditional two party system but that is as far as my knowledge takes me. Not to get off topic, however....

My chief concern when it comes to insider sources (anonymous or otherwise) is not that those reporting these stories are lying. If we accept as fact that the information is being recounted word-for-word as told, we are still left with the problem of the source itself. The notion of truth as a static entity is a troubling one as truth is a subjective issue.

I'm personally inclined to look at patterns over time and assess some measure of truth based on what this can tell me. I'm also inclined to believe it when Brian says he is truly upset. Though if I am to be completely honest with myself, I would rather he go back to making albums of artist merit rather than working in a democracy with someone who I feel has very little of said merit. But, it isn't about me and what I want.

I hope this makes some sense. Again, I really appreciate the opportunity to be including in this discussion.

CountingTheWays said...

I would assume everyone is familiar with this:

Some recent quotes, however, suggest that the other Beach Boys had been planning to continue performing with the group. Wilson told CNN, "I'm disappointed and can't understand why he [Love] doesn't want to tour with Al, David and me. We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys."

Just take the quote all by itself and either Brian was horribly misled or he is lying...or he could be confused I suppose.

Andrew Hickey said...

CTW -- firstly, I'd like to apologise if my reply to you was rather brusque. I've been a bit unwell and reading my reply back it's only just on this side of polite.

"My chief concern when it comes to insider sources (anonymous or otherwise) is not that those reporting these stories are lying. If we accept as fact that the information is being recounted word-for-word as told, we are still left with the problem of the source itself. The notion of truth as a static entity is a troubling one as truth is a subjective issue."

I quite understand your point. However, completely separate from any insider sources, I can point you to the following:

On the Smiley Smile message board ( http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php?board=2.0 ) if you do an archive search (I don't have time to do this right now I'm afraid) for the term Mike & Bruce shows and look in the posts for June, you'll see that the thing that is being reported as news, that Mike & Bruce were planning to tour without the rest of the band, was announced at least that far back.

Likewise, with Love not being the legal owner of the Beach Boys' name, and unable to use it without the agreement of the others, see the statements in the case Brother Records Inc v Jardine ( http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1213400.html ) which clearly sets out who owns what.

Hopefully those publicly-accessible sources will count for more than the words of 'insiders' -- which I would no more trust than you if they contradicted other known facts.



As for Brian being upset, I am going to speculate here -- the following is based on bits of evidence, some in the public domain and some not, but is more speculation than fact:

I think that when this reunion was originally planned, it was because Love and Wilson both wanted to make a Beach Boys album. In particular, Wilson wanted to make the *last* Beach Boys album -- he'd told Joe Thomas back in 1998 that he wanted Summer's Gone to be the last song on the last Beach Boys album.

Al Jardine, meanwhile, wanted to rejoin the touring Beach Boys, something he's been trying for for years. And any recording required all three of them to proceed.

So an agreement was reached. They'd make an album and do a *short* tour as a reunited group. At this point, nobody thought that Wilson would want to do a longer tour, so the presumption was that the tour would come to a natural end, and new Mike & Bruce dates were booked on that presumption. Jardine, meanwhile, hoped that he could continue with the band afterward, and thought agreeing to a short tour better than no tour.

However, Brian Wilson decided that he now actually *likes* touring as a Beach Boy (and anyone watching the shows can tell that he really does -- he's happier on stage than I've ever seen him).

But meanwhile, not only did Love have those dates booked, but the new album was *far* more successful than anyone expected -- and Love only co-wrote a handful of tracks.

So now, Love wants to do a second reunion album, but wants to be a co-writer, however he's not keen on continuing the reunion tour. Wilson's not especially interested in writing with him but *does* want to carry on touring with the Beach Boys. And Jardine is desperate to remain part of the touring band.

And so what we're seeing is the PR side of a three-way negotiation between people with different desires. My suspicion is that nothing will come of those negotiations for at least another year, if at all, but Jardine's the one to watch for to find out what's really going on. Both Love and Wilson will say whatever the interviewer wants to hear, or whatever they think will advance their positions in a business negotiation. Jardine, as far as anyone can tell, just tells the truth.

End of speculation.

Michael Leddy said...

When I posted the Eagles’ put-down of Mike Love, I never thought it’d prompt these thought-provoking comments. Andrew, your speculation helps to account for what might be behind Brian’s and Al’s recent responses.

I still can’t see the end of this tour as anything but unfortunate.